Colorectal cancer screening
: how self-affirmation and the type of screening procedure can influence patient’s likelihood to participate

  • Julika Sveva Christin Schlich (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study examines whether a self-affirmation intervention can increase the intention to participate in colorectal cancer screening and increase the acceptance of a threatening health message. It also assesses whether the type of screening procedure offered has an impact on screening uptake. In this study, 129 participants answered an online questionnaire. All participants were presented with a short text informing about colorectal cancer by highlighting its severity and potential risk factors. Half of the participants received a self-affirmation intervention including 10 value statements before they were exposed to the text. The control group was asked to make the same value statements about a celebrity. After reading the text, half of the participants were recommended colonoscopy as the screening procedure and the other half a fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Each recommendation was followed by information on the corresponding test. No significant effect was found for the type of colorectal cancer screening procedure on the likelihood to participate. Self-affirmed participants within the high-risk group (> 49 years)stated a significantly lower likelihood to participate in a colorectal cancer screening program than individuals in the control group. No significant impact of self-affirmation on message acceptance was found. When targeting high-risk individuals with a high level of vulnerability, a self-affirmation intervention can be a useful tool to reduce defensive reactions towards threatening health messages and also promote behavior change. This study suggests that a weak message or absence of threat can potentially lead to adverse effects of self-affirmation.
Date of Award4 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorSofia Jacinto (Supervisor)


  • Screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Self-affirmation
  • Colonoscopy


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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